Description - Fort Fetterman, located approximately eleven miles northwest of Douglas, Wyoming, is situated on a plateau above the valleys of LaPrele Creek and the North Platte River.
The fort was established as a military post on July 19, 1867, because of conditions that existed on the Northern Plains at the close of the Civil War. Civilization was advancing across the frontier along the line of the Union Pacific Railroad and the fort was needed as a major supply point for the army operating against the Indians. On July 31, 1867, the post was named Fort Fetterman in honor of Captain William J. Fetterman who was killed in a fight with Indians near Fort Phil
Kearny, December 21, 1866. Major William McEnery Dye, with Companies A, C, H, and I, 4th Infantry, were assigned to build the post. As an outpost of civilization on the Western frontier, the fort represented protection and a haven to travelers. Fort Fetterman was always considered a hardship post by officers and men who were stationed there. Supplies and equipment were often inadequate due to being hauled from Fort Laramie to the southeast or from Medicine Bow Station on he Union Pacific Railroad. Luxuries were scarce and pleasures few. However the soldiers found some diversion from the garrison life at a nearby establishment known as the "Hog Ranch."
During the mid-1870s, Fort Fetterman reached its pinnacle of importance when it became the jumping-off place for several major military expeditions. It was the base for three of General George Crook's Powder River Expeditions and Colonel Randall Mackenzie's campaign against Dull Knife and the Cheyenne Indians. These events contributed to the end of the resistance by the Plains Indians who shortly after were confined to reservations. With the passing of Indians
from the scene, the fort had outlived its usefulness. When the military abandoned the fort in 1882, it did not die immediately. A community grew up at the post and after 1882, it was an outfitting point for area ranchers and for wagon trains. The boom was short-lived, however, and in 1886, the town of Douglas was founded a short distance to the south. The old fort, in a state of decay, lost out as a town and declined rapidly. Most of the buildings were sold, dismantled or moved to other locations.
Today Fort Fetterman is administered by Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites, Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources. It is preserved as a reminder of that colorful era known as the "winning of the west."
- Today Fort Fetterman is administered by Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites, Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources. It is preserved as a reminder of that colorful era known as the "winning of the west." A restored officer's quarters and an ordnance warehouse are original buildings. They stand among the many visible foundations of the Fort and Fetterman City. These two buildings house interpretive exhibits and artifacts of the Fort's history, Fetterman City, and its Indian predecessors. The visitor is encouraged to walk the grounds where interpretive signs describe the Fort's buildings and activities. These two buildings house maps, drawings, photographs, artifacts, and dioramas which interpret the history of the Indians, Military, and Civilians of Fort Fetterman and Fetterman City. The visitor is encouraged to walk the interpretive trail where signs describe the historic site and lead to a Gazebo overlooking Crook's Camp and the Indian Country to the north. The site provides several picnic areas and a shelter for group or individual use. Historic guided tours are available upon request and by appointment by calling Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site (307) 684-7629.
Recreation - Recreational activities in the state historic site include viewing historic, archeological and interpretive sites, picnicking and walking.
Climate - As throughout the Rocky Mountains, the climate varies drastically depending on elevation. Summers generally offer warm clear days with cool nights. Afternoon thunderstorms are often a possibility in the summer. In the winter, sunshine, with plenty of snow in the higher elevations, are ideal for winter activities. Harsh weather - including wind, cold, and snow - is possible throughout the winter and even throughout the year, in the highest elevations.
Fort Fetterman State Historic Site, located seven miles north of Douglas, Wyoming on Highway 93, take Exit 140 off Interstate 25.